Newstalk ZB: why haven't you sacked vile commentator Katie Hopkins?
OPINION: Newstalk ZB quite frequently calls on the services of a British woman called Katie Hopkins to opine on overseas news stories. She's presented as an 'outspoken commentator'. In the aftermath of the Ariana Grande bombing in Manchester, Hopkins thought it wise to send a vile tweet (since deleted) saying that "we need a final solution".
Let us be clear: Hopkins' consistent record of vileness (more of this anon) means it is quite clear that she intended this to mean a widespread murder of Muslims. In the unlikely event that Hopkins didn't know the currency that term carries, then she doesn't have the general knowledge worthy to act as a commentator (she wouldn't have the general knowledge worthy to go on The Chase). But as a reminder, it refers to the genocide of six million Jewish people in World War II.
Hopkins is, I reckon, clearly a vile woman who says vile things, but this tweet seemed as disgusting as you could possibly get, particularly contrasted with the nobility of most Mancunians in the face of the terror attack.
Hopkins' track record involves saying suicidal prisoners should kill themselves, that feminism is just women looking for "special treatment", that the bloody Egyptian uprising was "like Bonfire Night", that the UK should use gunships to kill migrants, because they were a "plague of feral humans", that Palestinians are "filthy rodents burowing beneath Israel" and should be bombed. She has said that the infamous photo of three year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, drowned on a Turkish beach, was "staged". She mocked the Black Lives Matter movement because "if your lives matter why do you stab and shoot each other so much."
None of this should be news to Newstalk ZB. Hopkins' idiocy is frequently reported upon in the UK media, and if they needed a local reminder, website The Spinoff wrote a fine column in April about their decision to keep using her.
You would imagine, however, that reading the 'final solution' tweet, Newstalk ZB's bosses would have read it, cringed, and immediately washed their hands of her.
But Newstalk ZB didn't return calls from Stuff entertainment reporter Shaun Bamber on Wednesday about their relationship with Hopkins.
It should have been simple. They could have taken two paths: 'yes, what she said is disgraceful, we condemn it wholeheartedly and we won't use her again', or more subtly, put some distance between themselves and Hopkins and said 'she was only an occasional contributor and we don't intend to use her any more'. Not responding at all leaves you to assume that they would like to keep using her.
Why is that? There's no shortage of informed political commentators in England who don't say such things. So why would a reputable radio network want to be associated with someone who would use such language? Again, by saying nothing, you can only be left to assume that Newstalk ZB rather think there is some validity in what Katie Hopkins says. And that I find deeply disturbing.